27 March 2019

Cemeteries are a dying business

Crystal Lake Cemetery’s lush greenery and manicured lawns earned it praise more than a century ago as an “ideal city of the dead.”

Fewer people these days are choosing to spend eternity in this enclave of north Minneapolis.
Owners of the 130-year-old cemetery, the second-largest in Minneapolis, recently offered to donate it to the city after being charged for a nearby road construction project. They say the property has been losing about $300,000 annually for several years largely due to maintenance costs and fewer burials. “If you would like to receive Crystal Lake Cemetery as a gift, from my family, we’ll give it to you free of charge with all documentation,” Bill McReavy, president of Washburn-McReavy, which owns the 140-acre cemetery, said at a recent city hearing.

The city says it is not considering the offer. And McReavy has assured concerned families that his company intends to continue taking good care of the property.

But McReavy’s predicament illustrates the challenge some cemeteries face as more people choose to be cremated — while others would just prefer burial in the suburbs. About 67 percent of deaths in Minnesota this year will result in cremation, up from 49 percent nine years ago, according to projections by the National Funeral Directors Association.
The rest of the story is at the StarTribune.

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